I realize that I’m a little cookbook mad. After all I’ve already done two other cookbook rounds ups of some of my favorite cookbooks in 2015 but there’s still some great ones out there that I didn’t cover! Here’s my final roundup of cookbooks that I got this year.
And like my previous two posts, I’m doing a giveaway of cookbooks. FOUR of these cookbooks will be given to one reader. So stick around to the bottom of this post for info how to enter! [THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED]
My friend Annelies Zijderveld has a way with words. It’s no wonder as she has a master degree in poetry and runs the blog The Food Poet. But she also knows her way around tea! Steeped, Recipes infused with Tea is one of my favorite cookbooks to come out this year, focusing on various different teas as well as how to use them in cooking and baking. From various beverage recipes like Earl Grey Whey Soda and Forbidden Chai Horchata to nibbly bites and sides dishes like Fresh Fennel Lychee Spring Rolls with Black Tea Dipping Sauce or Orange Jasmine Brussels Sprouts to the fantastic main dishes (all vegetarian friendly) like Cauliflower Steak with Tea Umami Sauce or her version of the California Tea Leaf Salad, this book infuses (<– see what I did there?) modern recipes and techniques with the underappreciated ingredient of various teas.
Does the world need another cookbook focusing on Sauces? Well Susan Volland thought so, and I’m inclined to agree with her. Her book Mastering Sauces is not only thorough in explaining the different ratios and techniques and the how of making sauces but she also dives deep in explaining the why of what you are doing. I’m all for learning how to create your own recipes (obviously) and the basics saucemaking is key in elevating a regular dish to an outstanding one. Susan explains three different principles of making sauce, from maximizing the flavor, manipulating the texture and seasoning properly. From there, she continues with recipes ranging from Tikka Masala to Mornay (classic cheese sauce) to salad dressings like Caesar or classic vinaigrette. Along the way you learn modern techniques that use contemporary ingredients for every diet, including vegan, vegetarian or gluten free. For those who are looking to really understand how the ins and outs of making sauce, this book is a must have.
I’m thrilled that Korean blogger and vlogger Maangchi released her cookbook Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking. There aren’t a huge amount of cookbooks that focus on Korean cuisine and Maangchi has always been my go-to person when I want to make Korean at home. Written with Lauren Chattman, this comprehensive book ranges covers all the basic Korean recipes that you might know from eating at a Korean restaurant like Bulgogi (seasoned grilled beef), Kimchi (fermented napa cabbage) or Galbi (Beef Short Ribs) as well as more a whole section on Korean pancakes, side dishes (ban chan) and soups. I’m thrilled to be able to make some of the dishes at home instead of having to drive all the way to Los Angeles to eat decent Korean food.
I grew up in the 80s and went to college in the early 90s and one of my favorite indie-rock bands during that time was The Blake Babies. So I was surprised and amused to find out that Freda Love Smith, the drummer of that band wrote a hybrid memoir and cookbook called Red Velvet Underground. Equal parts anecdotal stories about her life as a rockstar, how she fell in love with cooking and how she ended up a mom of two kids working at a university, as well as a collection of 45 recipes interspersed throughout the book, this is the sort of memoir that I adore.
The New Sugar and Spice by Samantha Seneviratne is the sort of baking book that is perfect for the adventurous baker or cook. With a focus on spices and flavors, the recipes are organized by spice, from Cinnamon to Vanilla with recipes that elevate the classic traditional recipes to something a little more special. Recipes like Black Pepper, Dark Chocolate and Sour Cherry Bread; Pear Tarte Tatin with Anise Seed Caramel; and Pistachio and Chocolate Butter Cake with Cardamom all sound both slightly off the beaten path without being outrageously different. I have so many baking books already but this one definitely stands out as an inspirational book that makes me want to get back into the kitchen to bake.
Food52 Baking, part of a series of cookbooks from the Food52 community, features some standard and some extraordinary recipes. All of them are easy to make and all of them have been tested and work for bakers of all ranges and skills. Comfort food like Apple Brown Betty with Gingersnap Crumbs or Raspberry Clafoutis call and beckon with lovely muted photographs. Other recipes like Savory Galette with Greens and Gruyere or Black Sesame Cupcakes with Matcha Buttercream shine just a little bit more because they are ever so slightly different than the average cupcake or galette. If you want a warm and inviting baking cookbooks with recipes that work, this one is the one for you.
True confession, I hate the phrase “clean eating” mostly because I don’t have a clue what it means. I eat a lot of greens and vegetables and fruit. Most of my meat is local and organic and free range. But I also occasionally indulge in a dessert here or there. But the whole clean eating movement baffles me because I don’t exactly know what is considered “clean” and what isn’t. So when I received Clean Green Eats by Candice Kumai, I was predisposed to not like the book. But what I found was a collection of beautiful and tasty recipes that I could actually see myself making at home. Just because I wanted to eat them, not because they were “clean”. Recipes like Chipotle Salmon Burger, Warm Potato and Watercress Salad and Rotisserie Chicken and Chopped Kale Salad with Cream Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette had me ignoring the term clean eating and just salivating at the idea of eating. That, for me, is a sign of a good cookbook.
I’m a huge fan of soups cooked in donabe, a traditional Japanese Clay Pot Cooking but I know very little about making it at home. I usually opt for it at a restaurant equipped for it or (when I’m lucky) have it a friend’s house that knows what they are doing. Thankfully Naoko Takei Moore and Kyle Connaughton wrote an entire book, appropriately called Donabe, about the simple versatile method of cooking. From various hot pots like Duck and Tofu or Napa Cabbage or Kyoto-Style Saikyo Miso to steaming rice (plain to flavored like Taro or Buttered Scallop and Daikon) to Peel and Eat Shrimp with Green Tea and Shochu or Japanese style Bibimbap, the donabe is the sort of unassuming old school piece of equipment that can do a lot. Now to figure which and where to get a donabe!
I’ve got a total dumpling fetish so the cute book Hey There, Dumplings! By Kenny Lao and Genevieve Ko definitely perked my interest. Adorably cute with illustrations, easy to understand recipes and simple mix and match charts, this book is the sort of fun introductory book to dumplings for all those folks who love them but find the idea of pleating dough and skin really intimidating. All the dumpling recipes in the book, from the Szechuan Wontons in Chili Oil, Pea Shoots and Leek Dumplings and Peking Duck Dumplings use packaged dumpling wrappers, making this book perfect for the beginner. With a chapter on dips for the dumplings, buns and noodles and drinks, this is the fun party book for those who want to dip their toes in dumpling making and test the waters.
The Food Lab cookbook J. Kenji López-Alt is exhaustively huge. At nearly 1000 pages, it covers pretty much anything you might want to cook, and it covers it pretty darn well. After all, the man behind Food Lab at Serious Eats and a former employee of Cook’s Illustrated, López-Alt does all the hard work and heavy lifting for you to figure out the absolute best way to create French fries that shatter when you bite into them, the best crispiest roasted chicken, and flakiest buttermilk biscuits ever. If you ever wanted to know not only HOW to make the best of anything but WHY it’s the best technique, this is the cookbook for you. With humor and wit and lots of process photos, this book should be on the kitchen shelf of everyone who loves food.
Yvette Van Boven has done a series of cookbooks in her Home Made series, including Home Made, Home Made Winter, and Home Made Summer. But Home Baked is the first one dedicated completely to baking. And it’s so fun. With recipes like Date Rum Cakes with Salty Caramel, Shortbread Cardamom Cookies That Will Melt in Your Mouth and Peach & Berry Tarts with Buttermilk Custard, this book has illustrations and photographs from Ireland and Paris to set the tone of the book as well as all the luscious photographs of the food. The sort of fun whimsy that is on each page is infectious and makes you want to just dive right in.
If you’re a fan of Yotam Ottolenghi’s previous books you might pick up Nopi: the Cookbook and be surprised at complexity of the recipes. But here’s the thing. This cookbook is a restaurant based cookbook, unlike his other three books that were designed for home cooks. Does that mean the recipes are beyond the ability of most home cooks? Nope. But they do demand a little bit more prep time, a few more components than you might expect from one of his dishes, and maybe tracking down a few ingredients that you might not have in the pantry. But nothing super bizarre or esoteric. Think juniper berries or Szuechuan peppercorns not mailorder molecular chemicals that you might find in other restaurant cookbooks. But with the extra prep time and the multiple components you are rewarded with dishes like Quail with Burnt Miso Butterscotch and Pomegranate and Walnut Salsa; Sea Bream with Mango and Papaya Salad; and Braised Pig’s Cheek with Celery Root and Barberry Salad. Totally worth the effort if you ask me.
On the other end of the spectrum is Heartlandia, the cookbook by Adam and Jackie Sappington with Ashley Gartland. Based on recipes and dishes from the famed The Country Cat restaurant in Portland, this cookbook is pure comfort. Olive Oil Braise Pole Beans, Bourbon Peach Crumble Pie and Grilled Oyster with Homemade BBQ Sauce are all in the book, along with a sense of home and heart. Opening this book is like snuggling into a warm blanket. A delightfully warm and soft blanket that you never want to unwrap. The name of the book, Heartlandia, couldn’t be more accurate.
[THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED. THANK YOU ALL WHO ENTERED!]
That’s it for all the cookbook roundups! Check out Part 1 of my 2015 cookbook roundup and giveaway and Part 2 of my 2015 cookbook roundup and giveaway. And now for details on how to win a few of these books!
I’m giving away a copy of Heartlandia, Home Baked, Nopi and Steeped to one lucky reader of Eat the Love! It’s easy to enter, all you need to do is leave a comment below telling me the favorite thing you ate this year! Seriously, tell me what was (and maybe where you ate it or where the recipe is) and you could win these four cookbooks! You have until Thursday, December 24nd, 2015 9am PST to enter! (Only one entry per person please.) The Fine Print
By leaving a comment below to enter, you are agreeing to the Official Rules.
▪ NO PURCHASE NECESSARY
▪ VOID WHERE PROHIBITED
▪ You must be over the age of 18.
▪ This contest is only open to U.S. Citizens. Sorry non-US people!
▪ The contest starts as of today, and will run until Thursday, December 24nd, 2015, 9am PST.
▪ The combined retail value of everything is about $131.99.
▪ Only one entry per person please. Any additional comments by the same person will be discarded in the final selection process.
▪ The winner will be chosen by a randomly selected comment. All comments will be numbered and I will use Random.org to pick a random number.
▪ The number of eligible comments below determines the odds of winning.
▪ If there’s a problem with contacting the winner, I reserve the right to award everything to someone else randomly chosen. So in other words, make sure you type in your correct email address if you want the books and respond within 72 hours to me when I contact you or I’ll give everything to someone else.
▪ The prize is being delivered directly from the publishers. If they have not delivered the prize to you within three weeks of me notifying you of winning, please reach out to me again and I will do follow up to make sure everything is OK. Please keep in mind we are all human and things happen. I will do everything within my power to make sure the prize is delivered in a timely manner.
Thank you to Andrews McMeel Publishing; Harper Wave; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Midway/Agate Books; Stewart, Tabori & Chang; Ten Speed Press; and W.W. Norton and Company for providing review copies of the cookbooks above. All books were sent to me free of charge for review but there was no obligation to feature them and I was not monetarily compensated for this post. All opinions are my own and not endorsed by the publishers.
An extra special thank you to Andrews McMeels Publishing; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Stewart, Tabori & Chang; Ten Speed Press for providing copies of Heartlandia, Home Baked, Nopi and Steeped as a giveaway to one lucky reader! You guys are all super awesome!